Recently I watched a movie in which a 17-year-old cheerleader got raped by football players. Sometimes I’m drawn to these movies just knowing justice usually wins out, unlike in real life, but other times I can’t bear watching them. I was riveted to this story, probably because I, too, was so young and vulnerable. I deeply identified with her pain, though the circumstances were different. I admired her courage and wished I was brave enough to bring out the truth and face my abuser.
As the movie ended, the over-pressured floodgates split open. I felt so forsaken, and I sobbed, “God, I didn’t want it either. Why wasn’t justice meted out to my abusers? Why can such injustice go on while I often carry the weight of it all yet? Why can people still blame me?”
God graciously answered me from His Word in Psalm 9 that He never lets His justice turn aside, I have to leave it in His hands, and He will continue to be a Refuge for the oppressed.
“He will judge the world with justice
and rule the nations with fairness.
The Lord is a shelter for the oppressed,
a refuge in times of trouble.”
“Tell the world about His unforgettable deeds.
For He who avenges murder cares for the helpless.
He does not ignore the cries of those who suffer.”
Yes, it is unbearable sometimes to think that evil and abuse get away with it, but I’m going to try to remember that God is a Judge. This means His anger waxes hot against our abusers in defense of us. It is not my place to mete out justice, but I have to learn to leave the time and place in His hands.
Sometimes, especially in some churches and families, justice is not served. The abuser is protected and the victim is silenced, shunned, and shamed. I have read of far too many cases like this and have experienced it myself. But sometimes it comes to the point where we just have to let go and let God. Sometimes no matter what we do or say, attitudes will not change. But God remembers still, and He will mete out justice or mercy as He sees fit.
This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t speak out the truth or escape from the clutches of abuse and manipulation. This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t report abuse to the proper authorities. Neither does it mean we shouldn’t set boundaries against churches or persons who continue to victimize us. God doesn’t want us to heap justice against ourselves and punish ourselves. We are precious in His sight, and He cries when we cry. He wants us to find shelter in Him.
Have you been silenced, shunned, or shamed? Have you done all you can to protect yourself and others, and still there are many who do not believe you? Concentrate on your healing, not on the injustice in your life. Don’t get me wrong. I know it is far from easy. But sometimes there comes a time when we know that no matter what we do or say, justice isn’t served. And we can’t keep letting it eat us up inside. We can’t let it keep chaining us to our abuser. We have to let go and let God. God sees, knows, and remembers. He has it all under control. In His love and favor, He gives us a place to flee for refuge.
God is our refuge and strength,
always ready to help in times of trouble.
Praying we will seek for shelter and strength
in an Almighty God who has all power in His hands!
In His grip of love and grace!
God can make our broken beautiful!
“I know that I don’t bring a lot to the table
Just little pieces of a broken heart
There’s days I wonder if You’ll still be faithful
Hold me together when I fall apart?
Would you remind me now of who you are?
That Your love will never change,
that there’s healing in your name
That You can take broken things,
and make them beautiful
You took my shame
And You walked out of the grave
So Your love can take broken things
and make them beautiful
I’m better off when I begin to remember
How You have met me in my deepest pain
So give me glimpses now of how You have covered
all of my heart ache, oh with all Your grace
Remind me now that You can make a way
You say that You’ll turn my weeping into dancing
Remove my sadness & cover me with joy
You say your scars are the evidence of healing
That You can make the broken beautiful
You make us beautiful, oh oh
You make us beautiful.”